Representative Allen West concedes Florida election

Allen West listens to a question at a campaign stop with guests at SCORE South Palm Beach 18 October 2012 Allen West's superior fundraising could not safeguard his seat

Republican freshman congressman Allen West has conceded he lost his Florida re-election effort, after two weeks of recount battles.

Democratic rival Patrick Murphy, who had held a slight lead since election night on 6 November, is the winner.

The race was among the most expensive in Congress, with Mr West raising four times as much cash as Mr Murphy.

Elected in the midterm conservative wave of 2010, Tea Party-backed Mr West was known for his outspoken views.

He said in a statement on Tuesday that while further recounting might have "changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change".

The difference in the number of ballots between the two candidates would have not forced an automatic recount.

Patrick Murphy speaks during a news conference with newly elected Democratic House members, 13 November 2012 Patrick Murphy appeared last week at a press conference with newly elected Democrats

But Mr West raised questions about ballots in one Florida county, going to court to force two partial recounts.

"I appreciate Congressman West's gracious concession today," Mr Murphy said in a statement. "To those who supported my opponent, my door is open and I want to hear your voice."

Mr West, a former Army lieutenant colonel, was one of only two black Republicans in the House.

His strident comments grabbed headlines, from labelling most congressional Democrats as communists to saying that President Barack Obama, Representative Nancy Pelosi and others should "get the hell out of the United States".

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